On ‘Sadiq and Ameen’ Clause: A Pragmatic Exploration of (un)Truthfulness in Pakistani Culture
Notwithstanding that Truth and Lying appear to be universal constructs, the meaning and nature of (un)truth are culturally contingent. Labels used to denote these concepts have unmistakable cultural imprints which can be uncovered by using semantic and pragmatic explications (Wierzbicka 2002, 2003). The present study aims to explicate meta-pragmatic awareness about the meaning of (un)truthfulness in Pakistani culture with special reference to the political context and present it in culturally neutral terms using the theory of cultural scripts. Apart from the standard semantic analysis of the relevant lexical items, the data for the study comes from the linguistic evidence gleaned from various constitutional petitions filed by invoking Article 62 (1) (f) or the 'Sadiq and Ameen' Clause in the Pakistani Constitution: A constitutional provision that makes it obligatory for the public office holder to be truthful and honest. The findings are presented in the form of a set of cultural scripts written by using Natural Semantics of Metalanguage (NSM) which comprises standardized semantic primes found in all the languages of the world. The petitions and the resultant trials provide a rich ground for the hermeneutic process to unearth the cultural meanings of 'Sadiq and Ameen' clause. The court proceedings and the final verdicts try to pass over the constitutional ambiguity by weaving linguistic, religious and legal strands of meaning together. The findings reveal that truthfulness refers more strongly to the sincerity of a person rather than the integrity of the statement. The truthfulness of a person is a stable, all-or-nothing personal attribute likely to be irrevocably impacted by a single or any number of not only mendacious but also inconsistent or contradictory statements.
Key Words: Truthfulness, Lying, Sadiq and Ameen Clause, Cultural scripts, NSM
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